Peel Here #75, Finding a ‘gem’ in the WW: Chicago quarter bins…

By Shawn Robare

It just occurred to me that it’s been weeks since I posted a new Peel Here column.  I guess this past vacation has really got me turned around as I’m still sort of lost on what day it is.  I thought I’d tie in this week’s stickers to the WW: Chicago experience a bit, though very loosely.  One of the bits of fun I had at the show was taking a break from the table on the last day to hunt through some quarter bins with Jerzy Drozd looking for both some fun stuff to eventually share on the site as well as catching me up with some comics that I missed out on back when I was heavily collecting and only had eyes for the various X titles (X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants, etc.)  I rewarded with a stack of Walt Simonson books (bits and pieces of his runs on both Thor and the Fantastic Four) as well as a handful of 80s toy and cartoon-centric comics (like M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, He-Man, and a few issues of the Spiral Zone), but one that I was really curious about was the Saga of Crystar the Crystal Warrior.

I think the reason these jumped out at me in the bins is because I found a sheet of Crystar stickers awhile ago when I was first starting up the Peel Here column and to be honest, it’s an 80s property that I don’t know all that much about.  It’s probably because of the fact that there wasn’t a cartoon associated with the brand; instead Crystar was developed by Marvel comics so that they could license the brand to a toy company, essentially reversing the normal process of brand marketing (at least as far as 80s toy and cartoon lines were concerned.)  Since the comic debuted in ’83 and the toyline (which Marvel managed to get Remco to pick up) the year before, I think I was too young to really glom onto it considering I was still a few years off of really discovering comics and I really only had eyes for Star Wars at this point.  I’m not sure how much Marvel attempted to merchandise the property, but as I mentioned above, it at least made it into the realm of stickers…

Again, I’m pretty unfamiliar with the world of Crystar, but after flipping though the two issues I found in Chicago and reading up on the story via its Wiki entry I’m intrigued.  Though the story seems to be centered on the age-old concept of two princes taking opposing sides to conquer/save a fantastical world, there are still some really fun elements to the plot.  For one, each prince chooses (or in Crystar’s case is forced) an element to wrap their battle around; Crystar is wounded and is turned into a crystal like material to save his life, while his brother Moltar allies himself with a demon lord and is turned into a lava form.  There also seems to be a rich back-story behind two of the lower tier characters, Warbow (who I believe is the green crystal warrior in the sticker set above) and an evil wizard who both shoot the other’s left eye out with arrows.  I can’t explain it, but I find bits of character data like that fascinating.

I’m not sure if this is the only set of Crystar stickers or if their might be a second page. From what I gather this page features mostly the good characters (fighting on the side of Order) including Crystar in the middle, Warbow in the upper right, Feldspar in the upper left (who is actually the uncle of both Moltar and Crystar and is a neutral character which explains his half lava, half crystal appearance), and Ogeode in the bottom right (who is the wizard responsible for turning the crystal warriors into their current mystical form.)  I’m not sure of the lava dude on the bottom left is Moltar or just one of his lava minions (though judging from the cover to the first comic I’m guessing he is Moltar…)

Anyway, I’m intrigued by the whole concept, so I guess this will be another comic title I’ll have to add to the list for future quarter bin sessions…

  • Lamar The Revenger

    the only really interesting thing about Crystar comic is issue 7 had an appearance of nightcrawler, which was strange in its own right. funny thing is i have (i think anyway somewhere) the whole series. and i believe (since you said on twitter about new mutants) Bill Sienkiwicz did the covers.

  • narvolicious

    Howdy Shawn: Got here through the Avante Garde Retard (buddy of mine). Great site…like you, I’m also an ’80s kid and I’m pretty much stuck there. You’ve got some killer stuff here. I used to collect Pac-Man stickers from a classmate in ’83 (7th grade) who always bought the packs just for the gum and would toss me the stickers. Anyways, that’s my sticker story… Drop by my blog sometime, I’ve got a flashback category called “”19 A.D.”” Keep up the good work. Are you going to San Diego Comic Con? I’d love to grab some mags…lemme know. Thanks dood!

  • Harris

    I had those stickers and one or two of the toys when I was a kid. It’s interesting-ish that artwork for the stickers comes from neither the comics nor the toy packaging. Also, Glenn Danzig from the Misfits took the logo for his band Samhain from the cover of Crystar #8:

  • Jeremeias Janikow

    Exellent blog! Here in Argentina we have a lot of 80

  • Harris

    Shawn- As I remember, the packaging artwork was a painted image of Crystar holding his sword up in the air, sort of the same painting style that was on alot of toy packaging in the 80s. I agree that it’s really funny to think of Danzig pouring over the pages of children’s comics, looking for ideas, it’s definitely not the image he tries to project…

  • Charlie Calderin

    I had Crystar action figures that I bought (my grandmother bought) at K-Mart which was right across the street from a Lionel Playworld which didn’t carry the line. I may still have some of the comics but don’t for the life of me remember the storyline. Thanks for the flashback. Can’t wait to go through the rest of your blog.